Why she’s always my dear wife Karen

Cones o' Shrimp, a la my dear wife Karen.

Cones o’ Shrimp, a la my dear wife Karen.

After hauling the 50-pound bag of gourmet food preferred by Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle to the car Sunday, I was informed by my dear wife Karen that I was getting dropped off at home before so she could tackle the supermarket stop all by her lonesome.

Something about special ingredients for a surprise anniversary dinner.

Say what?!

So I suffered through the second half of my Jets getting pummeled by the Buffalo Bills and caught the sight of Karen darting to the back porch with her goodie bag before I hauled the regular weekly goods from her car to the kitchen.

I did not peek on Monday, our anniversary day, while she was away at the office at SMG. I was too busy writing, and had a business meeting downtown for another freelance gig that’s going to start within the next week or 10 days to boot.

When she got home, Karen informed me that the kitchen was off limits for one hour. From my living room recliner, I sniffed delicious aromas. If I were a guessing man, I told her 30 minutes in, I’d guess chicken parmigiana, a favorite of mine.

No answer.

My dear wife continued talking about her day, cooking away, not taking the bait.

And then she called me into the kitchen, and I was told to look behind our reusable shopping bags on the table.

There sat a platter that held the Cones o’ Shrimp, what I call my order when we visit Bubba Gump’s, the franchise restaurant named after the Tom Hanks movie of much fame in which his title character Forrest Gump became a shrimper in the hometown of late Army buddy Bubba Gump and … you know the story. I love the shrimp served three ways: cocktail, coconut and tempura, with a side of french fries and dipping sauces of traditional Bubba’s cocktail, Finger Lickin’ Remoulade orange marmalade, and Delta Dunkin’ sweet and spicy.

We visit Bubba Gump’s with our group of cruise ship friends on the night before the big boat pulls out from port, whenever there’s one in the city of departure. The tradition has held in Fort Lauderdale, Long Beach and Baltimore.

The cookbook.

The cookbook.

They returned to Fort Lauderdale for a sequel this October, but I had to miss the vacation because I was working the 40-hour-per job assigned through the temp service, hoping to be hired on fulltime by the company, and gave up my spot in the cabin to one of our dear friends. Then the job was pulled. But I wouldn’t take the spot back. In any case, Karen and our dear friends planned my special Bubba Gump’s meal the night they were eating there. Karen went with Diane, our friend who got my spot in the cabin, and they found the cookbook that included the recipes for the shrimp and dipping sauces in the gift shop. Brenda and JoAnn worked the waitress to get four of the cones to take with them, so I could be served my shrimp in the real thing.

Believe me, my shrimp three ways and fries pictured above, cooked for me with love by my dear wife Karen, tasted as good as those served up my three trips to those Bubba Gump’s franchises. Better. She ate her version off a regular plate. as we shared a great and memorable anniversary dinner.

Has a significant other ever cooked a special surprise meal for you, and if so, what was it? Have you ever eaten at a Bubba Gump’s restaurant, and if so, in what city and what did you order? What’s your favorite way to order shrimp?

64 thoughts on “Why she’s always my dear wife Karen

    • Thank you, Cat. My dear wife Karen is the best to me and for me.

      My gift to her was finally handed over last night, in fact. I had to call every other day until the iPhone 6 finally came in at our BestBuy and wasn’t gone immediately. I got a yes on the phone from them yesterday, whisked to Karen’s workplace to get her old phone for the trade-in, and sat through the several-hour process. Yeah, I got one, two, as we did the last time around. But we had our iPhone 4’s for 2 1/2 years, so this is a tremendous upgrade, and my wife is thrilled, thrilled, thrilled. I went top memory model, and she will never again get the message that it’s full when she tries to take a picture at a special occasion. (Fingers crossed.) She hated that!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yes, I’ve eaten at Bubba Gump’s dozens of times in Daytona Beach and I hear they have one closer in Orlando now, too, though I still prefer to go all the way to Daytona. I love to watch the movie before I go so I can survive the wait staff’s trivia questions. Do they not have them up there? Did you already own that cool cone holder? She did a bang-up job with the presentation! It looks marvelous! (Of course, I don’t actually eat shrimp, but I do cook it for others.) And I’m glad you followed up with more of her cruise info… I’ve been wondering about that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Did anybody save any shrimp for Ellie B?


  2. Awww! How sweet of Karen to make you that very special dinner. Happy Anniversary, Mark, to you and Karen.

    The only time I’ve been near Bubba’s was when watching the “Forrest Gump” movie. Dave spoils me by making my lunches and many of our dinners. That’s pretty sweet, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. You are such a lucky man Mark. Although I have prepared several special meals, no one has made one for me since I was 20, when my Mom made my birthday meal for the last birthday before I married. My kids take me out for meals, my sister has baked my cake, my brother supplies me with burgoo, but none of them ever cook an entire meal especially for me.

    Happy anniversary to you both, and many, many happy returns. I think you both celebrate everything with such flair that you will grow old together without any doubt at all.


  4. What a wonderful anniversary treat. I’ve been to one in Califormia and Bubba has just arrived in London. I haven’t been yet but I’ll definitely try it soon – I’ll let you know how it tastes.


    • Yes, Debbie, we have to know how Bubba transplants over in London! Thanks ahead of time for the reporting. Great to have your comments hear. I love your eye and tone at your place, my friend.


  5. this was a wonderful and very loving act on so many levels. how lucky you both are to have each other. my romantic surprise food was once a buffet of all of my favorite chocolate candy bars ). ive never eaten at bubba’s but sure would like to!


    • A chocolate bar buffet is a great one. I wonder of you grazed a bite of each at the occasion, or saved some for later? Anyway, thanks for your kind words about Karen and I’s relationship. We are fortunate and know it, Beth.

      You would dig Bubba’s. They give you movie trivia and it’s kitschy, just the right amount. The food is the king, though.


  6. Happy Anniversary! It sounds, though, as if you guys have mastered all it takes to make every day happy. Congratulations. In answer to your questions, I have never dined at Bubba’s and I am totally spoiled by a husband who knows his way around a kitchen far better than I ever will.


  7. So sweet! Happy Anniversary and way to pick your woman–she can cook shrimp three ways ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have not dined at Bubba’s, though the person wearing a huge shrimp costume always manages to terrify my kids when we pass him (her?) at Mall of America. I like me some shrimp, though. Will Karen bring that dish when we manage to get the four of us together?


  8. You know, Mark, we wives tend to do nice things for our husbands when they are awesome guys who show their appreciation for us. I suspect that is the case here. Dear wife Karen knows when she has a good thing and you do too. Happy Anniversary you two!


  9. So thoughtful of her to think of how to give you a taste of the trip. The cone of shrimp looks much preferable to a dog’s cone of shame, and the dipping sauces look yummy, too! We don’t have a Bubba Gump’s around these parts. I think there was one in Galveston when we visited this year, but it wasn’t open. I sure nuff love me some shrimp!


  10. What a sweet way to surprise you! I bet you never thought that would be the special dinner, which makes it that much more fun.

    Happy anniversary to you both! ๐Ÿ™‚


  11. Mark and Karen: a very happy anniversary to you both…and many MORE! Mark, you should send this to the Bubba Gump folks, or post on their social media site or wherever. I’m sure they’d love to hear about it, as it’s a great story! I’ll refrain from commenting on the Bills’ drubbing of the Jets because of our lengthy friendship (and because I know those tables can turn in a heartbeat!)… xoxo


    • I am going to look for Bubba Gump’s to post it now, Nance. Great suggestion. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m sad for my Jets, but they are toast. Now I am pulling for the Bills to win the division. I like Marrone, and root for the Bills as my No. 2 squad behind the Jets, and hate the Patriots like an ingrown nail.


  12. Happy anniversary to a great couple! We missed you so much on the last cruise especially when we were seated at Bubba Gumps. But it did not stop me from ordering our favorite shrimp entree. In fact several others ordered it and that is when Karen & I decided you needed cones of shrimp also. It looks like she did a super job replicating it. I plan to share a table at Bubba Gumps and cones of shrimp with you again in the future!


    • JoAnn, thanks to you and Brenda for conspiring with my dear wife Karen to make this feast possible! It will be better to share the spirit of the gang at Bubba Gump the next cruise departure city, certainly, but this surprise floored me with my delicious Cones o’ Shrimp! Thank you, thank you!


  13. Happy Anniversary Mark & Karen! Nice touch with Bubba Gump….always one of my favorite places to eat, but did she make you wait an hour at the bar first?
    On another note Markus…I see the Mets hired Kevin Long. Soooo this means the team batting average will dip below 200 now??


    • At least he knows his way through the boroughs, you know? Also, he can find his way to the back page of the Daily News and Post, too, as you pointed out. Ugh.

      And yes, I had that hour to wait as she made Cones o’ Shrimp, but she couldn’t tell me why I was bellied up … wait, I was on the recliner. ๐Ÿ™‚


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